North Carolina has quickly become the least queer-friendly state in America after Republicans rushed the passing of new bills that would essentially legalize discrimination against LGBTs.
The laws were introduced in an emergency session only one hour before voting, a tactic used by Republicans in order to steamroll the new legislations into place before considerable opposition could be mounted.
House Bill 2, in effect, is a particularly strong injunction against LGBT people in NC. The Bill not only negates local policies designed to protect sexual minorities from discrimination, it also places strict rules around who can use what kind of bathrooms in public facilities like schools. More specifically, the law mandates that single-sex bathrooms may only be used by those of the corresponding birth sex.
Not all North Carolina politicians are happy about the new rules, with Senator Jeff Jackson writing the following on Facebook: "They are pushing this through as fast as possible. No one was allowed to see the bill until the committee met, then legislators were given five minutes to read it. It passed out of the committee and is now being debated on the House floor. It will almost certainly pass the House. Then it will be taken up in Senate committee, then to the Senate floor. All in one day.
If it becomes law, it means any business in the state can refuse service to any LGBT person - even by just posting a sign that says, “No Gays Allowed.” It is much broader than last year’s much-debated Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which at least required a 'sincerely held religious belief' to refuse service. This includes no such requirement. Discriminate at will.
The press is just now waking up to the bait and switch that just occurred, which is why you haven’t heard much about this yet - but you will. This is going to be the broadest anti-LGBT legislation in the nation, and it will hurt our state deeply if it becomes law.
The North Carolina ACLU, along with a handful of other pro-LGBT organizations, are already planning on taking legal action against the state to combat House Bill 2:
“Today was a devastating day for LGBT North Carolinians and particularly our transgender community members who have been subjected to months of distorted rhetoric culminating in today’s display of bias and ignorance by North Carolina lawmakers. We are disappointed that Governor McCrory did not do right by North Carolina’s families, communities, and businesses by vetoing this horribly discriminatory bill, but this will not be the last word,” said Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “The ACLU, Lambda Legal, and Equality NC are reviewing all options, including litigation."